As if the COVID-19 pandemic were not devastating already, 2020 America should have to experience yet another upheaval. Protests about police brutality and inequality/injustice have broken out in all major cities across the United States, from Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Miami, to Louisville, Houston, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Seattle, etc. Following George Floyd’s tragic decease under a chokehold by a police officer that went seriously wrong, the unrelenting issues of racism resurface and drive large crowds to gather and demonstrate despite the need for social distancing and economic recovery.
The world seems to have come to its horrific end, or at least the world as we know it: “Not only is the nation facing current crises of public health, the economy, race relations and public safety, and perhaps democracy itself, but there are still things that could happen, … such as a foreign conflict or cyber-attack.” While protests turn violent and chaotic, police have shot rubber bullets and tear-gassed both protesters and journalists, and on the other hand, unruly civilians have disrespected law enforcers, some assaulting the police. But we do not need to have more bloodshed and carnage. What we need is unity. We need to unite to solve problems and rebuild our country as well as the world. Unity is strength.
During these times of civil unrest, we need to think hard and clear about what it means to be American. Peaceful measures, instead of looting and destruction, should formulate our channels of expression. In several cities, individual police officers have knelt with protesters to covey pain over system injustices. Some have marched with protesters, while among demonstrators and the police force, there have been plenty of greetings and handshakes. Former President Obama “condemns violence, outlines how protesters can bring about real change.” In his essay dated June 1, 2020, he urges our countrymen to “channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, …and [elicit] a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals.” Joe Biden also pinpoints: “George Floyd's last words [I can’t breathe] … didn't die with him…. It's a wake-up call for our nation. For all of us.” Our founding fathers taught us the principles of liberty/justice, and never were they parallel to violence or hostility.
“This is the United States of America. And there is nothing we can't do. If we do it together.” – Joe Biden
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” -- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
“Like a sculptor, if necessary,
carve a friend out of stone.
Realize that your inner sight is blind
and try to see a treasure in everyone.” -- Jalaluddin Rumi
United we will stand tall and strong; divided we will fall even further and harder. Celebrate similarities and embrace diversity. What makes the world rich and beautiful is the unity in diversity.